Today and Wednesday, the Democratic National Committee’s 2012 convention site selection committee will visit Charlotte. While here, they’ll take a look at several criteria: transportation, security, convention space, hotel capacity and more.

Charlotte leaders, including Mayor Anthony Foxx, have been working hard to woo the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Their website, Charlottein2012.com, outlines facts, figures and statistics on the Charlotte area, and they are working on compiling a resource list of all the great things to do and see in and around the Queen City.

The first “fact” in their Fact Sheet (PDF) states we are “an energetic, innovative, diverse city on the move,” yet this quick “fact” forgets about one key Democratic constituency that has often been ill-served and ignored by Charlotte’s Democratic leadership. Unfortunately, local and state leaders’ exhuberance over Charlotte’s possible hosting of the Democratic National Convention has overshadowed just how slow the area has been to making progressive change, particularly for LGBT citizens.

The Democratic National Convention stands to bring countless numbers of LGBT Americans to our city. It is an event for a political party whose ideals of equality and inclusion are rarely, if ever, taken to heart by our own local Democratic Party leaders.

At first glance, this lack of progress seems nothing but a negative stain on Charlotte but it doesn’t have to be. The Queen City has much more growing to do, and the Democratic National Convention’s presence here could help to highlight the many issues faced by our local LGBT community and push local leaders over whatever obstacles keep them from fully and publicly supporting LGBT people and citizens here.

So, here is my open letter to the DNC. I ask you to consider Charlotte carefully and provide a fair selection process to all potential host cities. But, in the end, I hope you do choose Charlotte.

Read on for an in-depth exploration of the state of LGBT Charlotte — both positive and negative — and how the convention could help our city move forward. Continue reading this post…

You’ve got to be freaking kidding me. After eight years of the Bush Administration and its biggest expansion of federal government and executive branch power in all of American history, the folks at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Counsel want to push this? Bonkers. Looney. Lost marbles. Crazy (like so far past going off the deep end it is unimaginable) is the only thing that can describe it.

From Liberty Counsel’s email blast today:

The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency

Revealing Barack Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution…and How to Stop Him. President Obama must be stopped. Ken Blackwell and Ken Klukowski show how to do it in The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency, a new No. 1 best-selling book.

The Constitution is on the side of the American people. It’s time to take America back! The Blueprint is available from Liberty Counsel for a gift of $30 or more.

Where the hell were these batshit crazy loons when Bush and his cronies were taking the Constitution and ripping it to shreds?

I’m telling you: The right wing agenda is evil, insidious and pernicious. Nothing more. Nothing less. (Although the words “sick” and “twisted” come to mind, too.)

Openly gay Democratic candidate Matthew Vanderpool said Monday he would neither accept nor pursue an endorsement from the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund in his campaign for Kentucky’s House of Representatives.

Matthew Vanderpool says he will not accept or pursue endorsement from the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

“The price attached to accepted money from the Victory Fund were incompatible with my beliefs,” the candidate said in a release. “I am gay, but that does not define my entire life or the things I stand for, which are explained in detail on my website. I have no ‘gay agenda,’ my goal is the serve the people in House District 45 without prejudice, arbitrarily dismissing no one because of their race, sex, nation origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, political party affiliation, personal or professional beliefs.”

Vanderpool, 25, seeks to oust conservative and anti-gay Republican opponent Stan Lee. Vanderpool said in an interview Monday evening that the district, representing parts of Lexington, is moderate to conservative, thereby necessitating his middle-of-the-road approach. He described his campaign and his eventual service in the House, if elected, as being one truly of his constituents.

InterstateQ.com: It sounds like to me that you are trying to, in your campaigning and if you are successfully elected, that you’re really going to try to be an elected official who actually represents the voice of your constituents and not necessarily yourself. Am I getting the right impression?
Matthew Vanderpool: Exactly. That’s the whole reason of what a representative should be. You should be representing the voice of the people who you represent and not yourself. They are electing me to lead them, but there are 35,000 people in the district. You have to listen to what they have to say and what their concerns are. Continue reading this post…

Truth Wins Out and Wayne Besen have revealed damning new stories of psychological and sexual abuse at the hands of so-called “ex-gay” therapist Alan Downing of JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality).

From a press release:

JONAH was co-founded by Arthur Abba Goldberg, a Wall Street criminal mastermind who was convicted in 1987 of “fraud of spectacular scope”. Upon completing parole, Goldberg secretly reinvented himself as a moral leader who “cures” gay and lesbian people. Known as “Abba Dabba Do” in the financial world, Goldberg was sentenced to 18 months in jail for bilking poor communities with complicated bond schemes and served six months in prison.

“Given the sordid history of JONAH, this latest scandal is not too surprising,” said TWO’s Besen. “This is an unscrupulous organization of high moral turpitude that has few qualms about harming desperate and vulnerable clients. This group has consistently been tied to bizarre, sexually suggestive methods that are unsettling, dangerous and ineffective.”

Journey into Manhood, where Downing is a counselor, exhibits similar eyebrow raising techniques. Writer Ted Cox infiltrated this peculiar program and wassurprised to find what he called, “homoerotic exercises” and a cabin that he called “The Cuddle Room” because it was a space where supposedly “ex-gay” men gave each other inappropriate massages.

“Apparently some of the guys in one cabin threw their mattresses into the middle of the room and had an all-night holding session,” said one of the men attending the Journey into Manhood session, according to Cox’s article.

“How ironic that therapists that claim to cure homosexuals keep ending up naked with their gay clients,” said TWO’s Besen. “Such lurid exploitation has moved from a disconcerting pattern to a full-blown trend and it needs to be investigated by the authorities.”

Sifting through my Google Alerts this weekend, I came across an interesting post by a gay college student in Virginia.

Blogger Justin had received an anonymous comment on a post he’d written about coming out. The commenter said:

People who love you will still love you. They may think you are misguided or that they have lost the expected future with your children. They will still love you but they might have self doubts about how to react. Coming out to people places a burden on them, You should balance your need to come out and their ability to cope. It is not necessary to let the world know your sex life. Virtually EVERY guy masturbates but how many have a need to share that information with others?

Justin responded, in part: “You are not doing your family a disservice by coming out, they are doing you one by assuming you are straight your whole life! Think about that. If everyone let everyone let be themselves then we wouldn’t need the ‘coming out’ process in the first place! It wouldn’t be assumed you were gay or straight, you could just go about your life.”

Read more responses and my thoughts after the jump… Continue reading this post…

Seriously, what is up? Will people never learn?

Back in January 2009 and November 2009, InterstateQ.com unveiled massive copyright infringement and intellectual property theft by the now-defunct (see update at bottom) OutGayLife network owned by Eric Wood. In that case, Wood had stolen dozens upon dozens of other news organizations’ and bloggers’ content, including from mainstream publications and The Associated Press.

See, we weren’t talking about simple quoting of a bit of an article here or another bit of an article there. No, Wood’s copying and pasting went well beyond the normal “blockquoting” you’ll see credible bloggers do on their sites. Wood was copying articles wholesale from dozens (maybe hundreds?) of websites and news organizations, often without even the tiniest bit or shred of credit (and, hey, forget about a link back to the original story).

Now, it seems Wood’s mistakes are being repeated by yet another gay website operator. Continue reading this post…

At the end of June, the Democratic National Committee announced its four finalists for hosts of the 2012 Democratic National Convention: Charlotte, Cleveland, Minneapolis and St. Louis.

Here in Charlotte, our city leaders, party players and civic-minded bloggers have been a’glow with the news. Politics Daily’s Mary C. Curtis, who lives in here, wrapped up the reaction and steps local leaders are taking to woo the convention, which could bring as much as $150 million to $250 million to the area’s economic bottom line.

But, how do each of the four cities compare on LGBT equality, one of the foremost progressive and civil rights issues of the day? Take a look-see for yourself…

Continue reading this post…

This morning, I ran across and RT’ed a tweet from a local acquaintance, who’d shared a New York Times article on yesterday’s DOMA decision in Massachusetts.

He commented on the 10th Amendment and those who most often cite it: “It’s sad but true that many who breathlessly cite the 10th amendment in a variety of issues (often erroneously) are abhorred to see that it prevents them from inflicting their person prejudices on the whole nation!”

Later, the same friend told me he loved a certain quote from the piece:

By citing the 10th Amendment and making what is essentially a states’ rights argument, Professor Balkin said Judge Tauro was “attempting to hoist conservatives by their own petard, by saying: ‘You like the 10th Amendment? I’ll give you the 10th Amendment! I’ll strike down DOMA!’ ”

The quote is pretty damn funny. But anywho…

The tweet was shared on my Facebook wall, where a good friend from the ’07 Equality Ride joined in the convo, saying: “I think we’re beyond ready for a new constitutional convention.”

Continue reading this post…

This Independence Day in North Carolina was beautiful. Clear and sunny skies and moderate temperatures.

The folks in Boone, N.C., took advantage of the good weather, and hit the streets for their Independence Day Parade on July 3. A photographer from The Watauga Democrat snapped some lovely photos of Rep. Virginia “Matt Shepard crime is a hoax” Foxx (NC-05) visiting with her constituents there.

Evidently, there was one group of citizens Foxx would have preferred stay home,  and away from the Independence Day revelry.

And, what was so offensive about High Country Pride’s parade contingent? Obviously, Foxx doesn’t like Liberty.

Photo by Lauren Ohnesorg, Watuaga Democrat (h/t Watauga Watch)